Students and Staff

Current Students and Staff

Current Students

Candice Quin (PhD Candidate)

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Candice is a PhD candidate studying how fish oil supplementation impacts the infant’s gut microbiome and immune system. She completed her BSc with honors at UBC-Okanagan in Biology. Candice hopes her research will result have an impact on maternal and child health with direct knowledge translation to pediatric caregivers in regards to fish oil supplementation. Candice currently holds a prestigious CIHR Doctoral Award, as well as a PEO scholar award.  Her publications can be found here

Mehrbod Estaki (PhD Candidate)



Mehrbod is a PhD candidate studying the link between physical activity and gut health, with a focus on the intestinal microbiota and its implications on Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). He has developed an interest in community ecology, multivariate statistics, and bioinformatics as they pertain to high throughput sequencing technologies. He completed his BSc and MSc degrees at Western University in Kinesiology under Earl Noble. Mehrbod hopes to bridge the knowledge gap between exercise and IBD.  His publications can be found here

Twitter: @MehrbodEstaki

Natasha Haskey RD (PhD Student)


Natasha is a PhD student/Registered Dietitian researching the link between diet (specifically dietary fat), inflammation and the intestinal microbiota and its implications on Ulcerative Colitis – an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). She has been a practicing dietitian for over 20 years. She completed her BSc and MSc degrees at the University of Saskatchewan. Natasha has been awarded the awarded the Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship-Doctoral Award (CGSD) from the Canadian Institute of Health Research. Natasha hopes to create evidence-based nutrition guidelines for patients living with IBD.  Her publications can be found here.

Twitter: @nhaskeyRD

Jacqueline Barnett (MSc Student)


“Jac” is currently a MSc student working under the supervision of Dr. Deanna Gibson and Dr. Miranda Hart. She began volunteering in the Gibson lab in May 2015 and instantly fell in love with the world of research. She graduated from UBCO in 2017 with a B.Sc (Hons.) in Microbiology as well as a minor in Psychology. In 2017 Jacqueline received the NSERC USRA which allowed her to continue working in the Gibson lab over the summer months. Jac began graduate studies in May 2018 after working as the Gibson lab technician for 9 months.

The primary focus of Jacqueline’s research involves examining the effects of the herbicide glyphosate on the gut microbiota and overall gut health and inflammation. However, Jac’s masters project is unlike any other project in UBC history. Since glyphosate is currently a highly debated topic in both popular and scientific communities, Jac and her supervisors decided to enlist the help of the public through their crowdfundraising campaign. Donate here

When she’s not in the lab, Jacqueline enjoys cooking, photography and going on walks with her fiancé Kevin and their two dachshunds, Bueno and Arthur.

Twitter: @InTheWheat


Sandeep Gill (MSc Student)


Sandeep is a MSc student studying designer probiotics (created in the Gibson Lab) and their efficacy on Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). These probiotics are designed as a promising alternative to traditional probiotics to enhance bioavailability. Sandeep hopes these probiotics will act as an alternative therapy for patients with IBD. She started in the Gibson Lab in 2013 as an undergraduate volunteer, completed her BSc (Hons.) in Microbiology, and is current completing a MSc.


Blake Birnie (Medical Student)


Blake is an MD student at University of British Columbia’s Southern Medical Program. He graduated from UBCO in 2016 with a BSc (Hons.) in Microbiology. During his BSc he did some research in the Gibson Lab on secretory IgA and was awarded the Rogers Family Charity Trust Award in Biology to study E. faecalis biofilms. Blake has now returned to the Gibson Lab for the summer of 2018, as he was awarded a UBC Faculty of Medicine Summer Student Research Program studentship to analyze secretory IgA and intestinal alkaline phosphatase levels in Natasha Haskey’s research study. Outside of academics Blake enjoys working out, soccer, archery, cars, and food.   


Amanda Ames (Medical Student)


Amanda graduated from UBCO in 2016 with a BSc (Hons.) in Microbiology. She is currently a first year MD student at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine. Amanda is interested in pursuing a career in gastroenterology. Amanda was awarded the Ferring Scholarship Grant for the summer. Amanda will investigate microbiota changes occurring in an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) model in response to designer probiotics created in the Gibson Lab. It is hoped that designer probiotics may be used as novel therapeutic strategy in the intervention against IBD. In her free time, Amanda enjoys traveling, spending time with her dogs and Polynesian dancing.

Adediwura Arowosegbe (Visiting PhD Student)


Adediwura is a doctoral student at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria. She graduated in 2010 with B.Sc. in Microbiology and completed her  Masters Degree in Medical Microbiology and Public Health. She is interested in perinatal and infant health. She was awarded a TETFUND grant by the Federal Government of Nigeria for her doctoral research on Impact of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene  in Traditional Birth Centers on Maternal and Neonatal Infections in Abeokuta, Southwest Nigeria. See her publications here

Adediwura joined the Gibson lab in May 2018 as a visiting international research student with the intent to explore how diet and the microbiome contributes to human health specifically in samples collected from Nigerian women.